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Holiday Tips: Is Cash Always King?

BY: cat | Dec 11, 2018

Today's guest post is by Rudy, the Red-Nosed Cat Every year, I face the same holiday conundrum: What to get my beloved groomer. It's so hard to find someone who specializes in cat-beards! Rudy the Red-Nosed Cat contemplates tipping hotel staff. This got me thinking. Is cash always the best route for those end-of-year holiday tips? Or is a nice gift sometimes the better option? I investigated for a few common tips.

For Your Regular Stylist: CASH

A good rule of thumb (or paw, as it were): if the person depends on tips for a portion of their income, go with cash. Aim for a tip that equals the cost of one salon visit, according to Martha Stewart.com. Of course, this applies if you have a hairstylist, aesthetician, or nail artist you see regularly. If you only hit the salon a couple times a year, a small gift is still a nice gesture, especially if it can be shared by the whole staff. Think a gift basket from Godiva.

For Your Mail Carrier: GIFT

Did you know mail carriers can actually get in trouble for accepting a cash gift? Federal regulations stipulate that they can only accept a gift worth $20 or less, and it can't be cash or a cash equivalent. Private package delivery services also have rules that make it tricky for carriers to accept cash. Instead, opt for a small gift like a Starbucks hot drink tumbler to keep coffee, tea, and warm milk at the right temperature along their routes.

For Your Regular Babysitter: CASH

I know, I know. I just said that cash is usually for people who rely on tips for a portion of their income. But your babysitter is really more of an employee—and that goes double for nannies. So when you get back from that holiday party, tip your babysitter the amount of a regular night out in addition to his or her pay. And if you pay your sitter on a weekly or monthly basis for more regular care, up to a week's wages is appropriate, says Emily Post.

For Your Pet Groomer: EITHER

If you regularly see and tip the same groomer, either tip up to the amount of a single session, or go for a small gift, like movie tickets from Fandango. If you go to the same business regularly but don't have a consistent groomer, go for a gift that can be shared among the staff. Harry & David has some great coupons right now for fruit and chocolate gift baskets that'll be the hit of the break room. Looking for more great gift ideas? Check out our holiday savings guide.